452 First St. East, Suite H
Sonoma, CA 95476
Modern takes on Portuguese dishes are served at this intimate spot with a wood-fired oven & terrace.
Sonoma Sky Park (0Q9) is only 45 nautical miles from Livermore, but flying certainly beats driving an hour and a half in traffic. Driving, however, is mostly what I do since my motive for the trip is to pick up my quarterly allotment of wine from Gloria Ferrer and sampling some champagne. Drinking and flying is a no no, besides my wife can drive my car but can’t fly an aircraft!
In the years of making this trip we have become quite familiar with the eating establishments in the town of Sonoma. One of our favorites is LaSalette Restaurant. This restaurant has many unique items on the menu that may take a little bit of bravery to order. They advertise that their menu is “a modern take on Portuguese dishes.” The Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew is about as daring as I have gotten, we usually stick with the more mundane fish and chips, BLT, or pulled pork sandwich. Their food is great, a good wine selection, but even when you stay on the mundane side of the menu you still are exposed to the exotic in the form of piri piri seasoning. What is piri piri you ask? Well, I had to ask too because I had never heard of it before. It is an African bird’s eye chili that originated in the country of Mozambique. Portuguese explorers discovered and settled Mozambique in the 16th century and discovered the pepper and created a sauce from it to complement their foods.
There, on the menu, is a dish called Spicy Piri Piri Chicken Salad, my wife and I have both ordered it and found it not too spicy, but tasty and wonderfully different. Piri piri also shows up on your French fries and interesting enough, your ice cream. Our “must have” dessert is a platter of two sorbets and two ice creams. The two sorbets are crisp green apple and mango, the ice creams are chocolate port and chocolate with, and you guessed it, piri piri! The chocolate ice cream is very rich and creamy, but just after you swallow a slight burning sensation is felt in the back of your mouth and throat. It’s a very interesting combination of smooth and creamy and spicy at the same time.
So, when visiting the Sonoma wine country, plan on stopping by LaSalette for lunch, you will be glad that you did.